Brian was born in San Paulo, Brazil to missionary parents. He speaks fluent Portuguese (his voice still has a trace of an accent) having lived in Brazil up until the age of 15, when he moved to Ohio to live with his maternal grandparents. After graduating from Hesston College in Kansas, a two year college of The Mennonite Church USA, he moved north of O'Neill to live with his fraternal grandparents who raised chickens---and that is how Brian came to know and understand the business of selling eggs.
Brian and Brooke (married for 8 years) and their three children (Nathan age 7, Kaleb age 5, and Zoe age 3) live in a secluded , peaceful country setting where colorful Sweet Pea flowers grow tangled in the fences, clucking chickens dart in and out of thick tree growth, and the children run barefoot, happy and free. Upon arriving at their home, I was reminded of how completely different it is living in the country--one can feel as if they have stepped into another world.
'California Whites' (white shelled eggs), 'Gold Stars' (brown shells), and 'Americana' (light green shells) are the three breeds raised on this family farm...and just for the record, a brown shelled egg is no healthier than a white shelled. When I asked how many chickens he has, Brian replied, "I don't keep a head count...", but he estimates the number between three to four hundred. These are 'free range' chickens in the sense that they are outside, but they are contained in pens during the day and a hen house at night for protection from raccoons.
A good laying hen will produce one egg a day, and with nearly 400 chickens, Brain is able to keep up with his steady customers; a local supermarket's in-house bakery (their goods are outstanding), a restaurant, and regular customers around the area wanting those good tasting, bright yellow-yolked country eggs for their own eating and baking needs. Brian commented, "All environmental challenges affect egg production." If the temperature drops, egg production goes down. To offset winter's lull in egg production, the hens are provided with 14 hours of electric light per day. "Lights make a huge difference." Brian sells his eggs within 7-10 days of laying, but I was surprised to learn that an un-refrigerated egg will 'keep' for nearly 30 days if the air temperature does not rise above 80 degrees, although, an egg with a weak shell would spoil sooner.
Brian says factors such as the price of corn (he purchases it once a year), and even our current economic situation has effected his business, but raising chickens and selling eggs is something he has always done and will continue to do. He does it simply because he 'likes it'.